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From the June 2013 Conservationist


By Jenna kerwin and David Nelson

Don't Hook Sturgeon

A lake sturgeon underwater

DEC advises anglers to be aware of lake sturgeon in the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, Finger Lakes and Oneida Lake. Last season, DEC received many reports of anglers catching sturgeon. Commercial fishing, dam building and habitat loss have decreased sturgeon populations. Lake sturgeon are listed as a threatened species in New York so there is no open season for the fish and possession is prohibited. If you hook one, you should follow certain practices to ensure the fish is returned to the water unharmed. For example: avoid bringing the fish into the boat, remove the hook with pliers, and always support the fish horizontally. See the lake sturgeon fact sheet for more information about sturgeon, or get the details about sturgeon restoration..

Return of the Cicada

a cicada insect on a twig

This summer, Brood II of the 17-year cicada will emerge in parts of southeastern New York. The emergence of this brood of periodic or "magicicada" has been documented in the east every 17 years since the early 1700s. Magicicada differ from other cicadas in that they have black bodies, red eyes and orange wing veins. When cicada nymphs emerge from the ground, the males begin calling for mates. These loud choruses are what many people think of when they think of cicadas. Cicadas are not dangerous to humans and are generally not considered pests. To see if Brood II will be in your area, visit www.magicicada.org and click on the many interactive maps.

A large waterfall with a man fishing in the foreground

New Email Service

DEC recently began using GovDelivery (a streamlined subscription service) to manage its email listserves. GovDelivery is an easy way for the public to receive updates from DEC, and subscribers can choose to receive email updates on any number of more than 100 topics. GovDelivery does not share any personal information with third-party sites. To sign up, manage your account, and to learn more, visit the DEC website home page.

New Trail

DEC recently opened a 12.8-mile, multi-use trail connecting the communities of Raquette Lake and Inlet, through the Moose River Plains Wild Forest. The trail provides a variety of recreational opportunities throughout the year, such as mountain biking, hiking and snowmobiling. The project was a cooperative effort between DEC, local townships, the State Snowmobile Association, and the Student Conservation Association. See a map of the trail.

Correction to Barberville Falls

In our February 2013 article "Waterfalls of New York," we reported that people could visit Barberville Falls in Poestenkill, Rensselaer County. We've since learned that The Nature Conservancy has had to close Barberville Falls to the public during the summer because of continual misuse of both the Nature Preserve as well as the neighbor's property. For more information, please visit The Nature Conservancy's website and search "Barberville Falls."

Watch out for Turtles

A snapping turtle on a road
Snapping turtle

DEC reminds motorists to be cautious of turtles crossing roads. Roadkill can be a significant problem for some reptile and amphibian populations; turtles are particularly at risk between the last week of May and the first week of July, when female turtles migrate to available nesting areas. DEC reminds people to be careful when moving turtles off the road. Try to move the turtle in the same direction it was headed, and be careful of the turtle. Some species, for instance (such as snapping turtles and spiny softshells), may strike at the rescuer, and the bite can be painful. Also, never attempt to pick up a large snapper by its tail. This puts all its weight on its backbone, which can cause dislocation of the vertebrae (or a broken back) from which the turtle may not recover. Remember: be cautious of traffic and don't put yourself in danger.

Journey along the Canal

The cover of 'Get Off Your Knees' showing congenital amputee John Robinson

On June 23rd, congenital amputee John Robinson will begin a 16-day trek handcycling along the Erie Canalway Trail, from Buffalo to Albany. John aims to increase awareness about people with disabilities, and raise funds for Adaptive Sports and Accessibility for New Yorkers with Disabilities. The journey will be filmed as a follow-up to the PBS documentary, "Get Off Your Knees: The John Robinson Story." John will invite people with disabilities from communities along the way to share their stories of inspiration, and all are welcome to join for portions of the journey and attend scheduled gatherings. Visit http://info.ourability.com/travel for more information about the trip and how you can be involved.